Today we complete Chapter 4, “The Distinguishing Light of God.”
God’s light distinguishes those who are His people, from those who aren’t. The lamp of God—Jesus Christ—only shines over those who are wholly devoted to Him and follow His commandments. This light of God is so proprietary that it shines only on each person individually. No one else can sneak into its light or try to catch a few of its rays. Note how the darkness came over Egypt in a broad and sweeping kind of way:
So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt for three days. (Exodus 10:22)
There wasn’t simply darkness in their dwellings, or they would have been able to grope their way out to the light. The darkness was everywhere, and no matter how hard anyone would have tried, they would not have been able to find the light. This is because they worshipped other gods, and were not devoted to God in any way, and therefore had no lamp, oil or flame. Their life was total darkness everywhere.
Yet the light that God blessed the Hebrews with was not in the land of Goshen, but rather in their separate dwellings. In all of the other plagues, God made clear that the plagues would not come into the land of Goshen where the Hebrews lived. In the plague of darkness, however, the darkness permeated even the land of Goshen, except in their homes. This was to signify the individual nature of God’s light:
“but all the sons of Israel had light in their dwellings [not in their land].”
We can take incredible comfort from this. We can know that if we love God with our whole heart, and have asked Jesus, His lamp, to be our Savior, that we are living in His marvelous light—right here, right now. The darkness may be outside our door and everywhere around us, but God is illuminating our lives, leading us, giving us peace, happiness, cheerfulness and enlightenment. Unlike the Egyptians, we are not fixed in one spot, afraid to move, afraid even to grope, but we can move forward boldly in the light of His lamp. We may not be able to see much beyond the next few steps, but we can know with absolute certainty that He will always illumine the next step and the next.
The other night, I was walking with my dog down a street in my neighborhood. It is January as I write, and that night, it was misty and foggy. The street lights in the neighborhood are modeled after the old-fashioned kind of street light, and not very tall, so that as I walked down the street, I could clearly see the rays of each street light angling down into the darkness. There was a clear boundary between the light and the dark. They made pools of light on the sidewalk, between which were about twenty feet of darkness.
As I entered the light of the first lamp, I looked up and thought of God’s lamp over my head. I had only about three steps in the light before I was plunged again into semi-darkness, and while those lamps are stationary, God’s lamp is not. It goes with us wherever we go. We can only see the next few steps and beyond is darkness, but we can rest in the knowledge that darkness is not darkness to God—only to us. The complete path of our lives, from start to finish, is completely known to God at this moment, and illumined with His wonderful light. He knows where we are going and He knows how we’ll get there.
Just trust that He has distinguished you from among all others. You are His child and He is your light. That is all you need to know.
In the next installment, we’ll begin Chapter 5.